Stents which are mainly used to prevent blocking of various arteries wear away in a short period of time. Hence the patients require other procedures such as angioplasty or a by pass surgery. The other alternative to stainless steel stents are flexible nickel-titanium tubes.
They are very effective in helping blood flow through thigh arteries clogged by heart disease. Researchers conducted a new study and published it in the New England Journal of Medicine. These nitinol stents provide a better treatment option to patients who suffer severe leg pain from the disease and who are at risk of having a limb amputated.
The advantages of these stents are that they can bend, twist and even regain their shape after being crushed. Martin Schillinger and his co-researchers at the Medical University of Vienna found that patients with the nitinol stents could walk further on a treadmill and had less of a chance of having the tubes clog up again. The study results were that about 37% out of the 51 volunteers suffered new blockage. The risk of breakage of the nitinol stents was just 2 % in the first year. The study used two brands of nitinol stents made by Guidant, which was recently acquired by Boston Scientific. But Alan Hirsch of the University of Minnesota said the Schillinger study is not definitive because it only followed patients for a year and did not include people who were treated without surgery (control group).